Pacific Coast Charms

Long known as Canada’s most British destination, quaint Victoria is Vancouver Island’s largest city, famous for its flowers and gardens. Here are the top things to do in Victoria.

Founded in 1843 as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, Victoria became the capital of British Columbia in 1871 when this Western province joined the Canadian Confederation. Today, it’s a cosmopolitan hub of cuisine and culture.

Top Attractions
Afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in the Inner Harbour is one of Victoria’s regal traditions. The harbor also attracts 40,000 spectators to the annual Symphony Splash classical music concert each August. The Royal BC Museum includes native totem poles, a replica Old Town, and a stuffed woolly mammoth. At Canada’s oldest Chinatown, you can walk through the Gate of Harmonious Interest, and, in the Rockland neighborhood, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria features Canadian painter Emily Carr’s iconic landscapes. Spot sea lions and porpoises during an orca whale-watching tour. Or stroll through Beacon Hill Park, boasting a petting zoo and a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. Sports fans can head to the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre for a Victoria Royals hockey game, showcasing future NHL stars.

Outdoor Adventures
This island has a lot of beauty to discover. One of the top attractions for visitors in Victoria is whale-watching. Take your pick from one of many tours available for a chance to see orcas, killer whales and humpback whales. You can even spot some seals around the shores and on Seal Island. When spring rolls around, Victoria has an amazing display of cherry blossom trees that you must see if you happen to be in the city. Being in a city by the water, you of course can partake in many activities such as kayaking, canoeing and fishing. There are also tons of spots for a beautiful day of hiking or biking. Victoria is well-known for their flower displays, so don’t forget to spend some time at the Botanical Gardens. More than a century old, the Butchart Gardens, north of downtown, stun visitors with their romantic Sunken Garden in a former limestone quarry.

Eats n Drinks
Often neglected because of nearby Vancouver, Victoria happens to actually have one of the best foodie scenes in the entire country. Home to the best high-teas in the nation, a nearby wine region, Canada’s first chocolatier and brew-pub are only some of the credentials this city has to offer. Victoria also happens to have the oldest Chinatown in Canada, filled with some of the best Chinese food you’ll ever have. Here you can also find amazing seafood and countless fine-dining establishments with menus curated by top chefs. There are also lots of options for diners and bistros, as well as charming cafes and pubs. Looking to toast a big win after catching a game? Year-round, beer fans enjoy exploring a vibrant craft brewing scene that emerged in the 1980s.

Things to Do with Kids
If you’re traveling with little ones, you’ll be happy to know there are many events and activities that’ll keep them happy and entertained throughout your trip. Head to the Royal BC Museum for interactive exhibits and fascination displays. If your kids are a fan of bugs and insects, there’s an entire Bug Zoo where they can get their hands on creepy crawlies. The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre will allow kids to also touch sea critters such as starfish and jellyfish. For the adventurous, there is a ziplining course through a forest which you can reach with an exciting ATV ride. During summer, you can also visit the water park in Beacon Hill Park, which is open year round with its playgrounds and ponds filled with ducks and other animals.

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